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[Brackets] or question marks?

I enjoy typography. I like looking at typefaces, learning about the history of type, following and breaking the rules, etc. And in recent days, I've had a fascination with [brackets]. And I'll warn you now, I'm going to overuse them in this post. [Brackets] are very cool. They aren't as everyday as (parenthesis) but not quite as fancy as {curly brackets}. They all have their uses, but I don't get to use [brackets enough]. Which is why I've started using them more in my work. They work nicely to create a check box: [ ] (My employer was a bit confused by this.) I think they are also good to contain something, instead of using a plain old box: [ 24 ] (A client didn't understand this.)

What can I say, I like [brackets]! I've even considered using [brackets] around my post titles here on [the blog] instead of questions. What do you think?


  1. Brackets are good, but parenthetically, I prefer em dashes. Of course, em dashes aren't suitable substitutes for check boxes, but then why replace the Egg McMuffin when it's such a hit to begin with? Brackets may be considered kind an Arch Deluxe which -- though short-lived -- did have some very appealing features. Nevertheless, in typography, more important than whether to use brackets, parentheses, em dashes, en dashes, check boxes, or Mango Fruit Leather, is having a good editor to prune your work, making such ornamental separators unnecessary.

  2. Interesting comment withinsight. Wrong. But interesting nonetheless. I think you may have missed my point. [Brackets] add a nice typographic touch to things. A subtle decorative element, if you will.

    Also, I will say that you could use am em dash as a replacement for the, oh so overused, checkbox. Simply employ a little baseline shift action and, voila! But then, it would look a bit like an underscore...making it unnecessary.

    Speaking of underscores, this is also a very useful typographic element. I once had a very serious discussing with someone about this, and it was declared that "the underscore is the new period." It's quite effective_

    Finally, you speak of the editor making typographic elements superfluous. However, an editor or better yet, a designer, might have been helpful in writing your comment. I am appauled at your use of two hyphens for an em dash, when you state that you like em dashes so. Next time—if there is a next time—find out how to put in the real thing.


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